KOTA KINABALU: More than 5,000 Catholic faithful from throughout Sabah and religious clergy from the region gathered at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here to celebrate the appointment of Most Reverend Datuk John Lee as the first Archbishop of Sabah(correctly called archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu).
The celebratory mass of thanksgiving was also for the elevation of the Diocese of Kota Kinabalu to the status of Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu.
More than 65 Bishops and Priests, led by the Apostolic Delegate, Cardinal Salvatore Pennacchio concelebrated the mass, which was conducted in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.
Upon the ending of the mass, Archbishop Lee received a special chalice from Cardinal Salvatore as a gift from His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
A luncheon was served after the mass. Last night, a dinner was also held in conjunction with the occasion and attended by more than 1,500 people.
The Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu also includes the dioceses of Keningau and Sandakan.
His Grace, Archbishop Datuk John Lee.
A third son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Lee Yu Moi, Most Reverend John lee was born in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) on Oct 5, 1933. He began his Chinese education at the age of five (1938) at Kung Ming School, Jesselton (now known as Shan Tao School).
1949 –1954 :English education at Sacred Heart School, Jesselton (La Salle School);
1955:Medical Department :Posted to Jesselton Town Board as Trainee Health Inspector but resigned after a few months of service.
1956 : Attended Minor Seminary at St Francis Xavier’s, Singapore
1959 : Attended Major Seminary at College General, Pulau Tikus, Penang.
1964 (May) : Made Sub Deacon and Deacon
1964 (Dec) : Ordained Priest by the late Bishop James Buis
1964 – 67 : Asst Rector/Maths Teacher – St Anthony’s, Tenom
1967 – 70 : Asst Rector /Principal – Blessed Sacrament, Labuan
1970 (Aug – Nov): Asst Rector – Stella Maris Church, Tanjung Aru
1971 : Rector – Holy Trinity Church, Tawau
1978 : Rector – St Mary’s Church, Sandakan
1980 – 83 : Studies in Rome. Obtained Licentiate in Canon Law
1983 (Sept) : Appointed Vicar General/Rector, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu
1985 (Nov) : Appointed Diocesan Administrator
1987 (Apr) : Appointed second local Bishop by Pope John Paul II
1987 (June) : Ordained Bishop
1992 (Sept) : Received the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu State Award which carries the honorific title ‘Datuk’.
2008 (May) : Appointed first Archbishop in Sabah by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
2008 (June) : Receives Pallium from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Rome.